Psychology 383

Assignment 2: Pavlov’s Dog: An Example of Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning is an important theory of learning within the behavioral perspective of learning that you explored in Module 1.
The key to classical conditioning is that we learn through association,
which is quite different from operant conditioning in which we learn
through consequence.

When Ivan Pavlov was studying the process of salivation
in dogs, he made an accidental, but really important discovery—classical
conditioning. He discovered that after pairing the appearance of the
researcher with the delivery of food a number of times, the dogs began
to salivate as soon as the researcher walked into the room even when he
or she was not carrying any food.

Here is a list of the steps of the classically conditioned learning process:

Stimulus / Response



Neutral stimulus (NS) The researcher enters the room—prior to the dog learning that the researcher is associated with food. There is no response.
Unconditioned stimulus (UCS) Food—the dog naturally responds to the food.

No learning needed.

Unconditioned response (UCR) The dog salivates because of the food. The dog did not need to be taught to salivate.
Conditioned stimulus (CS) The researcher enters the room. Now, after being paired with the food, the appearance of the researcher has become a learned stimulus.
Conditioned response (CR) Salivation now occurs because of the researcher. The dog has now learned to salivate in response to the mere presence of the researcher.

Here is another example of the steps of the classical conditioning process:

You have moved into a new apartment building. The first
time you take a shower happens to correspond with the time when someone
flushes the toilet. As a result of this flushing, the water in the
shower becomes very hot. Now, because of this experience, each time you
hear the toilet flush, you jump out of the shower before the temperature
of the water changes.

  • NS: Sound of the flushing of the toilet
  • UCS: Hot water
  • UCR: Jumping out of the shower because of the hot water
  • CS: Sound of the flushing of the toilet
  • CR: Jumping out of the shower because of the sound of the flushing toilet

Now, complete the following:

Part 1

Think of a classically conditioned response you have
experienced and describe the process of learning this response (what was
the process you went through in becoming classically conditioned in
this response). Be sure to identify the following:

  • Neutral stimulus (NS)
  • Unconditioned stimulus (UCS)
  • Unconditioned response (UCR)
  • Conditioned stimulus (CS)
  • Conditioned response (CR)

Part 2

Address the following questions:

  • Describe a practical application that demonstrates this classically
    conditioned association from your own life. What function does this
    classically conditioned association serve?
  • Explain what would happen if you no longer responded to this conditioned stimulus.
  • Describe the manner in which generalization works to maintain classical conditioning.
  • Identify the stimulus that has been generalized or could be generalized in your classically conditioned response.

Write a 2–3-page paper in Word format. Apply APA
standards to citation of sources. Be sure to also include a title page
and a reference page. Use the following file naming convention: